John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Venezuela.

December 17, 1961

DURING their meeting in Caracas on December 16, 1961, the Presidents of the United States of America and of the Republic of Venezuela, John F. Kennedy and Romulo Betancourt, agreed to make the following declaration:

1. They reaffirm the irrevocable friendship of the two peoples and governments.

2. They confirm their adherence to the principles and standards of the United Nations and the Organization of American States which are dedicated to respect for human rights--to the effective practice of representative Democracy, with equal opportunity for all--to free self-determination by the people and to non-intervention.

3. They have confidence that freedom will prevail in all American countries and that the problems troubling America and the world will be solved peacefully.

4. The two Presidents expressed their determination to achieve the objectives of the Alianza para el Progreso in accord with the principles of the act of Bogota and Punta del Este charter, and they discussed mutual Venezuelan and United States actions which are necessary for this purpose. Venezuela's achievement in formulating and implementing a realistic long-range plan for economic and social development, especially in the fields of industrial and agricultural development, land reform, education, housing and water supply, were reviewed in connection with the need to mobilize additional domestic and external resources. Substantial new loans, in addition to those already provided, are under consideration by the Inter-American Development Bank.

5. Both Presidents agreed that a special effort is necessary in 1962 to assure large-scale development of industry and commerce, both to reinforce the present pattern of recovery from Venezuela's 1960-1961 recession and to achieve sustained levels of economic growth with rapid improvements in living standards of underprivileged groups not yet reached by the development process. 6. Both Presidents expressed their conviction that far-reaching efforts in the social field in accordance with the spirit of the Alliance for Progress should go hand in hand with economic development programs. The prices of basic commodities and commercial practices of importing countries must give effective recognition to Latin America's dependence on exports. Such recognition is a vital factor in carrying out the spirit and letter of the charter of Punta del Este.

7. The Presidents discussed the great importance to the Venezuelan people of the large Guri Hydro-electric Dam as the base for intensive development of the Guayana Region. Special consideration was given to Venezuelan programs for slum clearance, low-cost housing and municipal and community development. The Presidents believe also that this stimulating approach should have wide applicability in accelerating local development, in solving the most important local problems and, equally important, in taking advantage of local economic opportunities through community initiative.

8. During the next few months Venezuelan and United States officials will discuss in detail development loans and technical assistance to be provided by the United States Agency for International Development and other measures to support the Venezuelan Development Program and strengthen United States-Venezuelan economic relations. President Kennedy pledged all possible United States support and assistance to enable Venezuela to implement its development program on schedule, complementing Venezuelan efforts to this end.

9. President Kennedy and President Betancourt joined in expressing their hope that this statement made today in the birth place of Simon Bolivar will be received by the peoples of this continent as a message of faith and optimism.

Note: The joint statement was issued at Miraflores Palace in Caracas.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Venezuela. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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